Wild Rice today announced the final show in its 2021 season – Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach, a spectacular new musical adaptation of the beloved Japanese folktale.
This production marks the return of Wild Rice’s annual year-end holiday pantomime, a beloved hallmark of Singapore’s theatre calendar that dates back to Cinderel-LAH! in 2003.
For almost two decades, the company has entertained close to half a million audiences with its original musical retellings of fairytales from the West (Peter Pan in Serangoon Gardens, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs) to the East (Monkey Goes West, Mama White Snake).
Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, Wild Rice had to break with longstanding tradition last year and shelve its plans to stage its annual pantomime.
“We know how heartbreaking that decision was for so many people – the young and the young at heart – who look forward to celebrating the holiday season with Wild Rice every year,” says Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of Wild Rice.
“So, in spite of all the challenges, we have defiantly pressed on, pulling out all the stops to present a brand-new, home-grown musical. True to form, we’ve reimagined a classic folk tale with a twist, taking on the climate crisis with humour and heart. Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach is our made-in-Singapore vaccination against the gloom and doom, and a much-needed injection of inspiration, joy and hope.”
In line with the government’s latest health regulations, the cast of Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach will be tested for COVID-19 every day before showtime. Masks and socially distant seating remain mandatory, with no dining allowed within the theatre.
An Inspiring Story For Our Times
Wild Rice’s version of the classic tale will introduce audiences to Momotaro, a brave young man who sets out to save his island home from a devastating wave of pollution. Along the way, he realises that – with the help of his friends and family – he can change the world by standing up for what he believes in.
“Our hero is constantly on a mission to do his best to do better, and to help others around him,” says playwright and assistant director Dwayne Lau, whom audiences might recognise from his scene-stealing performances in several Wild Rice pantomimes.
“He demonstrates that a little kindness goes a long way, and that’s the spirit we need now more than ever in these difficult pandemic/endemic times.”
The musical also bravely tackles one of the most pressing issues of the day: climate change.
“We are witnessing the effects of climate change here in Singapore too – from sudden heavy rainfall and flash floods, to increasingly hot and humid weather,” observes Lau. “We hope audiences will be inspired by Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach to think about what we can all do to help save and sustain our environment – for ourselves, and for future generations.”
A Thrilling Adventure to Chase The Pandemic Blues Away
Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach is the latest holiday musical from Wild Rice to look to the East for inspiration. It follows in the footsteps of Monkey Goes West (2014, 2016), Mama White Snake (2017) and The Amazing Celestial Race (2021), which all re-imagined classic Chinese folktales for the Singapore stage.
“I have always loved the story of Momotaro, and I love Japan too,” explains Goei, who is also Co-Artistic Director of Wild Rice. “It’s been great fun working with Dwayne and our creative team on this show, thinking up new ways to celebrate the Japanese influences in our lives – from anime, J-pop and traditional Japanese fan dancing, to popular video games like Pokémon and Street Fighter.”
Creating eye-popping new ways to dazzle audiences within Wild Rice’s theatre is no easy feat, but Goei believes the effort will be worth it.
“We have all spent the last two years grounded by the pandemic, with limited opportunities for escape and adventure,” says Goei. “We hope this show transports audiences into another world, if only for two hours – we want them to have a super entertaining and jolly good time at the theatre!”
Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach will premiere at The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre from 25 November 2021. Tickets go on sale to Wild Rice Angels from 15 October, and to the general public from 10am on 18 October (Monday).